Corona getting beyond control

May 31, 2020

Of the total 68,301 confirmed cases, Sindh reported 27,360 cases, Punjab 24,104, Balochistan 4,193, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 9,540, Gilgit Baltistan 678, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) 2,192 and Azad Jammu and Kashmir 234

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Corona getting beyond control

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza Saturday said 90 corona patients had died in the past 24 hours taking the countrywide death toll to 1,443.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the number of confirmed had risen to 68,301 after new infections were confirmed.

Of the total 68,301 confirmed cases, Sindh reported 27,360 cases, Punjab 24,104, Balochistan 4,193, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 9,540, Gilgit Baltistan 678, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) 2,192 and Azad Jammu and Kashmir 234.

The death tolls rose to 1,443 with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reporting 453 deaths, Punjab 439, Sindh 427, Balochistan 46, Gilgit-Baltistan 11, Islamabad Capital Territory 23, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir 6.

Dr Zafar Mirza said 532,000 tests had been conducted so far, while out of 12,020 tests conducted on Friday, 2,429 had come positive.

He said around 25 per cent of all hospital assets in the country were engaged as of now, clarifying that the overall situation in the country was under control.

"But I'm sure some hospitals are full in some cities. But that does not mean hospitals in the entire country are full," he said.

He said local transmission ratio of the virus was 92 percent, while the percentage of recovery cases was 36 percent.

The SAPM said wearing facemasks in public places had been declared mandatory now, as coronavirus cases were mounting day by day.

He said surgical and cloth masks could be used while travelling in trains, public transport or going to mosques, bazaars, and shops.

He said people will now have to strictly observe this rule while commuting in buses, airplanes, trains, cab, and other modes of transport; going for shopping, whether small grocery stores or large shopping malls; and also in gatherings where there are many people and distance between them is not enough — and all other public venues.

The minister cautioned that there was a dire need to follow the SOPs and guidelines to curb the spread of the virus.

He urged people not to spread wrong information on the social media, particularly about the hospitals.

“Our healthcare assets have not been engaged more than 25%,” he said.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf said around 20,000 overseas Pakistan would be repatriated in the next 10 days from June 1, as the policy was revised to bring 2,000 passengers per day.

He said over 33,000 overseas Pakistanis had been brought back from 55-60 countries (1,000 passengers brought back per day).

He said the core focus of the government was on bringing back stranded labourers from the Gulf countries, who were unable to afford the travel expenses. Most of the labourers are stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.

Around 8,000 labourers will be brought back from the UAE and 4,000 from Saudi Arabia who had lost jobs and wanted to come back.

He said a new policy was also in the offing for the overseas Pakistanis, which would help resolve their issues.

Dr Moeed also noted that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had completely opened air space for outbound flights where all international airlines would be allowed to take foreigners and outbound passengers abroad.

The decision was made after analyzing the least impact of outbound flights on increasing COVID-19 risk.

Moeed said he saw some media reports that the government had allowed resumption of both inbound as well as outbound flight operations, which he said were false.

"We analysed whether COVID-19 will spread if we let outbound flights come in. The answer is no, because their crews won't come here. We also realised that the Civil Aviation Authority was suffering financially. It needs air traffic to sustain itself," he said while explaining why the government took the decision.

Moeed said around 180 Pakistanis were repatriated from India on May 27 through the eastern border.

The Afghan borders – Torkham and Chaman – have requisite arrangements to contain the risk of COVID-19 transmission, he said.

Dr Moeed said trucks were allowed to move for six days for transporting goods from Torkham border and around 250 trucks a day had traveled from this border.

Meanwhile, In Punjab, 174 casualties have been reported from Lahore, 85 from Rawalpindi, 51 from Multan, 34 from Gujranwala, 33 from Faisalabad, 14 from Gujrat, nine from Sargodha, six each from Sialkot and Bahawalpur, five from Rahim Yar Khan, three each from Sheikhupura, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh, two each from Hafizabad, Sahiwal and Narowal and one each from Attock, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalnagar, Nankana Sahib, Kasur, Jhelum and Rajanpur.

Out of 1,140 new cases of novel coronavirus, 476 were reported from Lahore, 149 from Faisalabad, 148 from Gujrat, 121 from Rawalpindi, 56 from Gujranwala, 55 from Multan, 23 from Rahim Yar Khan, 19 from Sheikhupura, 16 from Dera Ghazi Khan, 14 from Bahawalpur, 12 from Bahawalnagar, 11 from Khushab, nine from Sialkot, six each from Nankana Sahib and Layyah, five from Kasur, three each from Mianwali and Toba Tek Singh, two each from Lodhran, Jhelum and Mandi Bahauddin and one each from Attock, Hafizabad and Okara.

Out of total Covid-19 patients in Punjab so far, 1,926 are preachers of Tableeghi Jamaat, 768 pilgrims who returned from Iran, 86 prisoners in nine districts and 21,234 citizens who mostly have fallen prey to local transmission.

So far 11,620 Covid-19 patients have been reported from Lahore, 1,973 from Rawalpindi, 1,569 from Multan, 1,370 from Faisalabad, 1,363 from Gujranwala,, 806 from Sialkot, 799 from Gujrat, 440 from Sargodha, 415 from Dera Ghazi Khan, 354 from Sheikhupura, 346 from Hafizabad, 277 from Rahim Yar Khan, 261 from Kasur, 214 from Jhelum, 198 from Mandi Bahauddin, 196 from Muzaffargarh, 194 from Bahawalpur, 179 from Lodhran, 142 from Vehari, 141 from Khushab, 120 from Nankana Sahib, 119 from Narowal, 103 from Bhakkar, 102 from Sahiwal, 86 each from Bahawalnagar and Attock, 77 from Jhang, 76 from Layyah, 57 from Okara, 55 from Rajanpur, 53 each from Toba Tek Singh and Pakpattan, 50 from Chiniot, 47 from Mianwali, 45 from Khanewal and 34 from Chakwal.

As per spokesperson of the Corona Monitoring Room at the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, so far 228,541 tests have been performed in the province. Out of these, 24,104 have been tested positive for the virus. He said the highest number of cases have been reported from 16-30 years age group followed by 31-45 years age group. He said the lowest number of cases have been reported from above 75 years age group. He said that 6,507 patients have recovered and returned home, 439 died while 17,158 are isolated at home or under treatment at different quarantine centres and health facilities. Out of 2,194 healthcare workers screened so far, he said, 344 have been tested positive for the virus.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah Saturday said the province's coronavirus mortality rate had risen from 1.6% to 1.7% as it registered record 38 deaths in 24 hours. The greatest number previously was witnessed a day earlier — 31.

“Now, the situation is a little worrisome as 522 patients have recovered while 1,247 are admitted. This means there is a wide difference between admission and discharge — the health system is coming [under] pressure,” Shah noted.

He said the situation was moving from "bad to worse" as during the last two days 69 precious lives had been lost.

"This is quite painful and unbearable for the aggrieved families."

Shah said that 5,481 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours against which 1,247 cases were detected. “This shows a 23% result which is higher than [several] countries,” he said.

He said the province had conducted 176,703 tests so far, which "produced 15.5% or 27,360 cases".

Shah said 522 patients had recovered in the last 24 hours. The total number of recoveries so far has reached 13,272, taking the recovery ratio to 48.5%.

“I am sorry to say that 310 patients [are] in critical condition while 68 of them have been shifted to ventilators,” he said.

“Our home isolation experience is going well and presently 12,565 patients being treated in home atmosphere, in [home] isolation," he said, adding: "127 patients were in isolation centres and 931 in different hospitals."

The provincial chief said that Sindh aimed at expanding its current healthcare facilities by establishing two "coronavirus infectious disease hospitals, one at NIPA and the other opposite Karachi University”. He said, "Work on finishing these projects and installation of necessary equipment was going on round-the-clock".

The chief minister said out of a total 1,247 new cases, Karachi had recorded 923.

Giving a district-wise break down he said: "A total of 215 were recorded in Korangi, 213 in East district, 183 in Central, 180 in South, 63 in Malir, and 69 in West."

Meanwhile, 29 cases were reported in Ghotki, 24 in Hyderabad, 23 in Larkana, 22 in Jacobabad, 21 in Sukkur, 20 in Shikarpur, 14 in Jamshoro, eight in Shaheed Benazirabad, seven in Khairpur, five in Mirpurkhas, four each in Dadu and Kashmore, and three each in Badin and Thatta.

Meanwhile, Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said the private hospitals across the province could now set up isolation wards to treat novel coronavirus patients.

He clarified that private hospitals would need to follow all the medical recommendations for Covid-19 patients' isolation outlined by Sindh Healthcare Commission before setting these wards up.

"The policy of Sindh government regarding this is in the wider interest of the public," Wahab said, advising private hospitals to contact the commission for further guidance.

Meanwhile, with eight more human losses, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday recorded the highest number of 473 confirmed positive cases of Covid-19, raising the number of infected people to 9,540.

The provincial Health Department has no official data of the people died out of hospitals from symptoms close to coronavirus.

However, as per official data, 453 people had died of the infectious disease in the province.

Peshawar has lost the highest number of people against COVID19 in the country. It has lost 255 people so far as a result of the viral infection.

Of eight people died of corona in KP on Saturday, four of them belonged to Peshawar.

Four other people died in Charsadda, Swat, Buner, and Abbottabad.

In terms of human losses, Swat, the home district of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, is second after Peshawar.

The fast-spreading coronavirus has taken 41 lives in Swat so far and has reported the highest number of positive cases, 856, after Peshawar.

Of 473 positive cases, Peshawar’s share was 157, again very high than other districts.

Other districts including Mardan recorded 49 positive cases, Charsadda and Khyber 28 each, Bajaur 20, Malakand 16, Dir Lower 15, Nowshera 13,” Dir and Shangla 10 each, Abbottabad 9, Battagram 8, Haripur and Kohat 7, Karak 5, while one each case was reported from Swat, Buner, Chitral, and Hangu.

Meanwhile, Balochistan has reported 471 new cases and five more deaths during the past 48 hours, according to data from the provincial health department.

With the new cases, Balochistan's tally has reached 4,193 while the total death toll is 46. In Saturday's situation report, the provincial health department said it was revising its policies to detect underreported deaths.

"Due to an increase in local transmission and a [lax attitude] in following prevention protocols, the mortality [rate is] increasing. Total deaths are 76 including confirmed (46) and probable (30)," the report said.



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